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by Eric Ramsey, Legal Sports Report

Professional sports leagues have met another roadblock in their quest to collect US sports betting profits under legislative mandate.

During a Wednesday hearing in the District of Columbia Council, language trading a “royalty fee” for the use of official league data was taken out of an active sports betting bill. The Committee on Finance and Revenue rejected the proposed amendment from sponsor and Chairman Jack Evans by a unanimous verbal vote.

Curiously, it seems the leagues themselves provided the spark for removal.

DC sports betting bill up for hearing

Evans’ suddenly controversial bill (B 22-944) was filed in September and considered in a public forum the following month. Wednesday’s hearing marked its first real movement within the council.

There appears to be strong support for sports betting among DC stakeholders, including local mogul Ted Leonsis. The owner of the Washington Wizards and Capitals franchises would love to see folks gambling on NBA and NHL games inside the arenas.

Leonsis may get his wish.

The District does not have anything like a casino, so the Office of Lottery would be in charge of administering the industry. Among the amendments up for consideration was a provision for Capital One Arena and three others to operate sportsbooks on site. Each would be granted a two-block exclusivity zone to discourage competition.

“And then finally,” Evans said in his introduction, “language was removed from the committee print that would entitle the District lottery to use official sports leagues’ data, copyrights, and player images and likenesses. But also what has been added to this is the royalty fee. And I want to talk about that very quickly.”

A new section regarding this royalty fee first appeared in a draft version of the bill LSR obtained on Tuesday.

Rest is here…

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